Book ’em Danno

8 Feb


No doubt by now you’ve already seen or read the story about the young woman who was disrespectful to the Florida judge while receiving her bail and had the book thrown at her to the tune of 30 days in jail and bail set at $10,000 for a prescription drug infraction.

I know that many people view this as proper justice and a case of a disrespectful young woman getting what she deserves but if you watch the video carefully you’ll see that the disrespect began with the judge and not the young woman.

She was a first time offender on an illegal prescription drug charge and she wasn’t behaving seriously enough for his liking so instead of releasing her on her own recognizance which would have been standard procedure for an 18 year with no prior offenses, he set her bail at $5,000 and dismissed her with an unprofessional “Bye, Bye, you can go now.” To which she simply responded, “Adios”. 

Even I know that means goodbye. Does it mean goodbye disrespectfully? Simply because it is a Spanish word? Ironically, Judge Rodriguez-Chomat thought so and called her back to increase her bail to $10,000 and then dismissed her with the same, although much more sarcastically spoken, “Adios”. That led to the young woman giving the judge the finger and a verbal expletive which led to the judge calling her back again and then ordering her to spend 30 days in jail for contempt.

As an educator and an adult who can attest to having had classrooms filled with 20 or more students, exactly like this young woman in Florida I have absolutely no doubt that he started it. Why? Because as a professional and an educated adult and a person with an extreme amount of power…he is the one who should definitely know better. In fact and whether he likes it or not, that’s precisely part of his job.

But even if you disagree with me consider the fact that at the average price of $31,000 per year to keep some one incarcerated in a county, state or federal jail in the USA that judge just cost us all about three grand! And multiply that by our world record prison population of over 2 million citizens and you have an annual cost to the tax payers of over 74 billion dollars.

And if you then consider the fact that over 7million adults are under correctional supervision  including  probation, parole, jail or prison (fully 3% of our population) then the total costs are even more staggering.

Yes, over the last 40 years or so there has been a staggering shift in the way that people behave disrespectfully to one another and we teachers know that there is nothing funny about being disrespected… but when this happens on almost every television show on the air these days there is always an accompanying laugh track to keep us amused.

Unfortunately for the young woman in the Florida court room she tried to add her own laugh track to the proceedings which just made matters worse for her. Curiously enough I have noticed over the years that no one, not teenager, nor adult, professional or non, likes being insulted in any way shape or form …

Yet everyone on Television seems to enjoy it, including the audiences. Why is that?

It seems to me that we have a love/hate relationship with disrespect in this country. We like to be disrespectful and we hate to be disrespected…and it’s costing us upwards of 70 billion dollars a year and destroying millions of lives…and because it really isn’t funny there’s not a laugh track to be heard.





22 Responses to “Book ’em Danno”

  1. John February 8, 2013 at 4:51 am #

    The judge did the right thing.

  2. RAB February 8, 2013 at 4:55 am #

    No, the judge got in a dissing contest and gave himself the win. Not worthy of a position of such responsibility. Good post!

  3. smilecalm February 8, 2013 at 5:04 am #

    Insightful words! I’m finding compassion for both him and her. This does not seem like justice, and neither her nor society will benefit in a positive way. In the mean time those who bankrupted the nation’s economy recieved what penalty?

  4. squirrelmg February 8, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    I haven’t heard the story, but if it’s truly as you’ve explained it, then I fully agree with all your points. Especially for teens who do drugs, it is surely love, not jail time, that will actually cease their habits. Sounds like the judge was on a power trip and just looking for some excitement, in the same way any bully is.

  5. mistymidnite February 8, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    Well considering your knowledge of the profession especially the sixth paragraph, I am full hearted in agreement with all your insight into this hypocritical somewhat governed of society as we know it. So much awareness needs representation , no funds for advocacy in bigger picture of society whose ill at ease needs more reform and at times basic life skills. Im sorry if I might sound out of your ‘concerned’ true method for presentation. Yet, your whole post summons a higher neglect of people who are uninformed and uneducated. Unfortunate always been, however, I believe in the people who can make a difference is starting in one at time, its slower, but, more effective within each individual. I promise I hear ya. …. Media, television…..just stay away from all the negative. Inform … yes. But, passion for the right reasons within relativity and application….easier said than done. I know. I care a great deal about society and how I could ever possibly apply application to teach for helping others….. Yet, the two scenarios are : society getting along fine….or thinks so, living in their own American dream. Second: Each individual is responsible through a higher power to oblige to their governed offical, even if you disagree. Weird to some, not to me. Actually even a third, those that conform to either party. Makes me wonder….. whats in it for the long run of our society……
    So sorry I commented so long………………. Hope that made some sense to you. Blessings to you. Misty

  6. aurorawatcherak February 8, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    People get offended way too easily these days over way too little.

    I’m going to guess that the judge thought she was being racist toward him and saw an opportunity to put her in her place. She was disrespectful in a setting where she had no power. She should have kept her answers to “yes, sir”, “no,sir.”

    On the other hand, judges shouldn’t have that overarching power to do whatever they please in the court room. Two BIG issues that need to be addressed — the lack of civility toward authority and governmental tyranny. It can’t happen here is no longer an answer, because it IS here and we need to find a way to bring the government back under the control of the people where it belongs.

    Here in Alaska, all judges come up for voter review every 10 years. Unless I know of a really exceptional judge, I vote “Not to retain” on all of them. We “fired” one in 2010 and another one in 2012. I can’t help but think it keeps the remaining ones more humble.

  7. The Gothamite February 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    And here I thought this was a win for the justice system, that judge was a douche

  8. Maya Greywolf February 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    You needn’t look far, hopefully not in your own backyard, to know that those in positions of authority who choose to act unwisely, often do so with impunity.
    I can tell you that if the judge wanted to make a lasting impression on this young woman, he most likely did, but not a positive one. If he thinks his impetuousness will teach her a lesson and quell hers…tell me a time when that concept HAS worked.
    I do not excuse the young woman’s behavior, it was rude and disrespectful – and the type that would likely set most people off (me included!) but…the judge was wrong. We teach people, touch them, make real, lasting changes in their lives, through example; he only reinforced bad behavior. He also violated the purpose of bail by using it as punishment. These two elements alone should have us questioning his judgment – and widening the pool of examination.

  9. kalabalu February 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    The judge did what the police does, tried to make the offender feel, low/insulted, its a psychology to make the powerof rulebe felt, like an invisible whip to tame and if you revolt, you get more whips slahing across. Is it right or not ..that can have a poll..and we can get a verdict by the people vs the judge’s judgement..unless ..that too is a contempt of court.

  10. TamrahJo February 8, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    In my experience, few children or teen-agers are truly disrespectful, mean or bad until adults force them into a corner, strip them of their individualism and leave them no other options for survival than to become exactly what the adults around them are – pompous, “I’m older so I know better” fools –

    Another shining example of an adult who got too big for their britches – –
    No wonder youth rebels….

  11. NO ULTERIOR MOTIVE February 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

    I agree with you! This is just one sad example. From what I see day-to-day, just going about my business and in the news, respect of people, property and the beautiful earth is slowly being replaced by disrespect of those same 3 things. I’m repeating myself, but our priorities, our values, our morals are messed up, real bad.

    How to correct this is another subject for another article/essay someday…when I write it, I’ll probably feel like I’m hollering help to the world. However, I will write it. Thanks for the prompt.

  12. lyndaanning February 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    the judge needs to grow up and act his age. responsibility needs maturity.

  13. Durell Anthony Gaston February 8, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    Great post on a judicially stupid subject. I think that the judge fell for the proverbial lowering himself to the level of the woman. The judge has allowed everyone to know that his level of professionalism is at an all time low. If he hadn’t already sentenced her then using that “adios” as a rationale to increase her sentence, then it would not have been as much of an egregious act by the Judge.

    I am of the thinking that America incarcerations too many people for crimes that have little to no real negative impact on society. In my estimation, the judge has not earned the “be the person you want others to be” award of the day.

  14. Susanna February 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Completely agree but also feel like kids need to learn to act respectfully or suffer the consequences. A win-win would’ve been to order her to community service instead but not let her get off the hook for rudeness and obscenity. He should accompany her for his own bad attitude. Yes, HE should know better though she’s young enough to still learn.

    • NO ULTERIOR MOTIVE February 9, 2013 at 3:51 am #

      Susanna… Your comment is a BULL’S-EYE. When anyone is disrespectful, regardless of age, or “position”, etc. consequences need to follow. Disrespect should not be “free” for the taking. Like I said in my comment above, “our priorities, our values, our morals are messed up, real bad.”

  15. Tracy Goodwin February 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    It sounds like both were acting like kids. The only difference between the two is that I expect an 18yr old to do that but I expect a judge to have the restraint to deal with it like an adult rather than getting in a pissing match.

  16. thebettereditor February 8, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    I saw the tapes. This was the kind of arbitrary abuse of power that sparked revolts in previous ages. The teen was acting like the teen she was. The judge acted like the entitled representative of entrenched power that he was, and he revealed his personal pique at the ‘disrespect’ he felt he received. His behavior was deplorable for a person in his position, but sadly not uncommon. The most unusual thing was that the whole episode was caught on tape and went viral.

  17. Below Zero | Above Infinity February 11, 2013 at 3:48 am #

    Reblogged this on Below Zero | Above Infinity.

  18. onnovocks February 12, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Thanks for the statistics, I had no idea how bad it’s become. Great write-up.

    • gpicone February 12, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

      you’re welcome and thanks for reading!

  19. Barbara Backer-Gray February 13, 2013 at 4:14 am #

    Good post. A perfect example of abuse of power, if you ask me. Respect or disrespect shouldn’t be the issue. It’s not kindergarten; it’s a courtroom. I was the librarian at a police training school in the Netherlands in the 1980s, and one thing the students learned was to not abuse their powers. They were taught that if they stopped a driver for speeding, they were to say up front whether they were going to give a warning or a ticket, and stick to that. So that the driver’s response did not determine what the policeman/woman gave him. Because the issue was speeding, not the driver’s response to being pulled over or getting a ticket. This thing with the judge is exactly the same. He punished the young woman for her reaction to a judgment, which was not what she was in court for. The judge punished her for practicing her right to free speech. Whether anyone thinks she was disrespectful or not is completely beside the point.

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